Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Candice Madison
Much to my surprise, and earlier in the week than I had expected, Chris dropped this coffee on my desk. In times gone by, I would have been running to the roaster to find out what this unusual processing method had to offer. However, it is a testament to the success of diversifying the processing link in the supply chain, and the evolution in technique and skills that vanguard producers around the world are displaying that I merely strolled (very quickly) to taste the fruits of Sr. Ortiz’ labor!
Because I was greedy, I had no green specs for this coffee prior to roasting, so I made a few calls from prior experience. As this was a naturally processed coffee that had been subject to multiple fermentation steps, I assumed I should treat it gently. I figured that the moisture content would be low and the density, moderate. Well, I was, of course, very wrong in those assumptions – understandable as they might have been! We can see now that this is a very dense coffee aggregating around the higher end of the screen sizes. It has a low moisture content, meaning the density is mainly due to carbohydrates. This would lead me to roast hot and fast at the beginning to activate the chemical reactions leading to precursors for all the delicious aroma and flavor compounds to be produced in abundance.
However, without that information, and wanting to introduce heat gently in order not to scorch a potentially soft, light bean, but wanting to compensate for the larger screen size of the batch, I hedged my bets and started my roast of with a gas application of 50%, opening the airflow to 100%. At the turn, I raised the gas to 90%. I was worried turning it up so high, on a small batch without information, but I was quickly shown, by the slow ascent of the RoR, that I needed even more heat than I assumed, and bumped the gas up to 100% – leaving the airflow the same.
Wanting to give the sugars a chance to develop, I made my usual change of coming down off the heat – first to 90% and then, within a minute, to 50%. The roast proceeded without fuss and any more input from me, until just before first crack, when I opened the air back up to 100% and lowered the gas to 20%. A lot of humidity releases into the drum at FC, so be aware of that and mitigate as necessary. My roaster was hot enough and the batch small enough that, in this case, I didn’t have to make any modifications to my profile.
This coffee will give you two things: a lot of chaff and an unusually smooth ride. Giving the correct heat to this coffee in a timely manner leads to a super easy roast and a very unusual and special cup. I drank a brew of this after cupping, because I was so intrigued by the flavors I was tasting. Resting on a bass note of sweet pink cocoa, I tasted red berries, rose water and kumquat that cut through the rich sweetness of demerara sugar and caramel. Adding to the complex flavor profile was a clarifying note of black tea and a hint of baking spices all held together by a viscous, silky body. I might ask The Crown baristas to make me an espresso – I think it might be even better with steamed milk!